PSA and Mitsubishi face EV pricing dilemma in Europe

Electric car partners PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Mitsubishi currently have a 13,000-euro price difference between their virtually identical electric cars.

Mitsubishi says that when it arrives in Europe late this year the i-MiEV's starting price in Germany will be about 48,000 euros including tax and destination charges.

PSA says the i-MiEV-based cars it gets late this year from Mitsubishi – the Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn – will start at less than 30,000 euros, a price that already deducts a 5,000-euro subsidy offered to electric-car buyers in France.

That means the PSA cars will cost less than 35,000 euros without incentives – or about 13,000 euros less than the i-MiEV.

This will happen even though Mitsubishi will build all three versions of the four-seat electric minicar at its plant in Mizushima, Japan.

The PSA variants will get different body styling; will have different handling and suspension characteristics; and get different interiors. It's also possible the Mitsubishi version will offer more standard equipment than its PSA siblings.

But none of this explains the massive price difference between the cars.

PSA and Mitsubishi last week confirmed their estimated starting prices but declined to explain why there is such a wide gap.

We will probably have to wait until the end of the year to know whether this is based on the different specifications of each car.

If the price difference remains so large, this would be an indication that the two companies are not working very well together, which may explain why they announced earlier this month that they have ended talks about forming a capital alliance.

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